School is out, the kids are excited, and you are probably already ready for vacation. One of the things that I like to do when the kids are a little too enthusiastic about their new found freedoms is to start considering the costs for back to school. It serves two great purposes:
– The kids immediately calm down when I start asking them what they need to go back to school, particularly if they are taking special classes – like my son’s upcoming graphic design class that is requiring an extra fee to be in the class).
– It starts to prepare the family for the spending blitz that is back to school.
I remember we did a pretty poor job of sticking to the budget last year because the kids came home the first couple of weeks with all kinds of things they wanted to do that (of course) had associated costs. This time, I am going to look at what we spent last year and decide how much will go to each area.
This one really isn’t one where you can skimp, but you can start shopping sales now. The Fourth of July weekend always has a wealth of sales, and if you think about what your kids need for school, you can get the clothes, shoes, bags, and supplies while they are on sale.
Schools are already planning for start of term, so you can actually get information about next year, particularly things like activities. See if you can get your kids to look through the different things that interest them, pick a set number of activities, and put money aside for it. You can also let them pick activities based on how much you plan to put aside. That way they can choose one expensive activity (like sports that require equipment, fees, and traveling) or a couple of clubs that don’t have regular costs.
Depending on what year your child is in, you may be coming up on graduation or some other big event. Start planning for those now. That way when you have to pay for things like cap and gown or a special trip you will already have savings for it.
It really is never too early to start planning for the next school year. It may not be anyone’s favorite thing to do, but there are a lot of costs associated with schooling. It is nice to have as many under control as possible.
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